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AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) —It doesn’t matter what branch you serve in or what your detail is, choosing to serve in the military is a profoundly selfless act. It’s a decision that could mean you give your very life to defend the country and its people.
We don’t give as much back to military families as we could, once their service ends. But you can do something about that, besides writing to your government representatives, by giving your patronage to military-family-owned businesses, especially since Veterans Day is almost here. To help you do that, we’ve found four excellent military-family-owned businesses: Birdy Boutique, Brewing America, Red Dot Engraving and Toolbox Widget.
Birdy Boutique is a true story of the American Dream. It was founded by two sisters who immigrated to America as children from Poland in 1988.
Barbara Kent is a co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO). She served in the U.S. Army Military Police Corps for 13 years, before being medically retired and disabled. Joanna Serra is the other co-founder and chief operating officer (COO). Her extensive study of education and time spent teaching is a major factor behind one of Birdy Boutique’s best items, the Learning Blanket. The rest of the 20-plus member team is made exclusively of women, some of whom include veterans and military spouses.
Some of Birdy Boutique’s items include the aforementioned Learning Blanket, Learning Tapestries and car seat ponchos. Birdy Boutique also sells custom blankets to help schools fundraise.
Brewing America was founded by two U.S. veterans, who both share a love of brewing their own drinks, from kombucha to a range of alcoholic beverages.
Angela Hove is a disabled veteran, who served five years in the Marine Corps as a combat engineer. Kyle Hove is also a disabled veteran, who served 10 years in the Army as a Military Police K-9 dog handler.
Brewing America sells a fleet of high-quality equipment for brewing at every stage, from start to bottling.
Red Dot Engraving
Red Dot Engraving was founded by disabled veteran Steve Mount, who served in the Air Force. He began this business in 2014 in Thornburg, Virginia.
He offers several items on Red Dot Engraving’s website, including wallet cards, flip lighters and pocket watches. He is also able to take custom requests, though stresses that custom requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.
ToolBox Widget was founded by a Marine combat veteran, Jon Hurley. He served from 2001 to 2006, including in Iraq as a counter-mortarman.
After his time in the Army, he became an aircraft mechanic. It was during this time that he dreamed up a better way to keep tools organized. After teaching himself how to design and 3D print his idea, he was driven to create the ToolBox Widget business after the demand for his idea became clear.
Now, he offers dozens of ways to keep your tools organized.
Best items from Birdy Boutique
This blanket is the perfect way to teach your young one both English and Spanish. One side shows common words with matching pictures, while the other side shows more words in a list.
This poncho is one-size-fits-most, designed to be worn from the age of 6 months to 6 years. It’s meant to go over the buckles and belts without affecting the safety of the car seat.
Best items from Brewing America
There’s nothing better than an ice-cold beer served in a chilled glass. Make sure that glass isn’t any old glass, but a glass like this one designed to improve the aroma and head retention of your pour.
Mason jars have been popular for decades, especially as large drink containers. This pack of lids helps make a Mason jar that much better for use as a serving glass.
Best items from Red Dot Engraving
Keeping a bottle opener on your keychain is a great way to be prepared for good times ahead. This bullet option displays a little more personality than a basic one.
Giving a specially engraved wallet card to a loved one is an easy way of ensuring how you feel about them stays in their hearts and minds.
Best items from ToolBox Widget
This single kit holds up to 12 screwdrivers. The empty spaces include orange “missing tool” indicators so you know you have some tracking down to do.
This kit for pliers is essentially the same as the one for screwdrivers, but properly spaced to hold pliers. It also has the missing tool orange marks and can hold 12 tools.
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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.